Coach on (Re)Loved, Western Launch and More

Coach on (Re)Loved, Western Launch and More

Coach’s latest (Re)Loved drop captures the spirit of the Old West.
The leather goods house established Coach (Re)Loved in 2021 as a circular ecosystem for repair and restoration. Its current (Re)Loved assortment features everything from bags redone with varsity stripes, patchwork or hand-painted tennis motifs to reversible coats. Prices range from $50 for a handmade bookmark to $2,700 for a reversible shearling coat.

Announced Friday, the 30-piece Western drop features an array of fringed handbags, mini saddle bags, patterned cowboy boots and color-blocked coats. It is available on coach.com, and ranges from $125 to $2,500.

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Each piece is one-of-a-kind, made from unrepairable, disassembled bags and leftover scraps. Detailed product notes online capture how Coach’s craftspeople and designers gave each product a second life.

Though Coach’s misgivings in product damages were the subject of a viral TikTok by waste consultant Anna Sacks, the company has since been powering up its (Re)Loved program. At the time, Joon Silverstein, the global head of sustainability and digital at Coach told WWD that the amount of product destroyed by stores still represented less than 1 percent of the brand’s global sales. From then forward, Coach pledged to stop this practice entirely.

From 2018 to 2021, some 115,000 product repairs were issued in North America prior to (Re)Loved. Last year, 20,000 products were remade under (Re)Loved, per the brand website. Today, there are 162 stores that operate (Re)Loved programs in the U.S. and Canada, with special openings seen in cities like London.

As for (Re)Loved’s next steps, Europe and Asia will be next.

In exchange for their pre-loved goods to be recycled or reimagined, customers receive credit between $10 and $140 depending on item. A Coach rep said, “We are also inviting our consumers to continuously share their perspectives and opinions as we develop new circular programs and even to visit our Workshop and work with our designers and craftspeople.”

Get To Know Tyler Ellis, the Handbag Designer Hollywood Can’t Get Enough of Right Now

Get To Know Tyler Ellis, the Handbag Designer Hollywood Can’t Get Enough of Right Now

Jennifer Lopez carrying the bronze Perry clutch at the Oscars, 2019. Photo: Courtesy Tyler Ellis
Statement bags have been a thing for decades now, and logomania isn’t a trend that’s fading away anytime soon. Yet every once in a while, less truly is more, and none would agree more than Tyler Ellis. The creative Director and CEO of her eponymous brand, Ellis has slowly but surely carved a niche for herself in the luxury accessories market, with some of the most influential women in the world—from Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Lopez, to Jill Biden, Kerry Washington, Paris Hilton and Heidi Klum favoring her understated, yet sinfully luxurious clutches and bags.
“My father, American fashion designer Perry Ellis, passed away when I was eighteen months old,” Ellis recalls during a chat with Vogue Arabia. “My mother chose to raise me in Los Angeles, away from New York and the fashion scene. I always loved bags and accessories, but I shied away from the industry because of the fear of not living up to my father’s iconic reputation. I ended up following in my mother’s footsteps, earning a degree in communications at Boston University.” Within a year of graduating, young Ellis realized that Hollywood just wasn’t for her. “I left LA and moved to New York and was fortunate enough to get a job with Michael Kors, where I was able to work behind the scenes directly with Michael and his partner/creative director Lance LePere styling his runway show. I watched and learned how the tiniest details can make or break a look, a principle that has become one of the key pillars behind my brand.”
Tyler Ellis. Photo: Courtesy Tyler Ellis
Today, Ellis’ bags are a hit on Instagram, and their discreet designs make them the perfect accompaniments to simple and statement looks alike. The pinecone-inspired details have become a signature—more on that later—and the jewel-toned clutches are both, fuss-free yet fashion-forward. Below, Vogue Arabia gets to know more about the woman who’s changing the way the world looks at accessories, one bag at a time.
Tell us about the moment when you first decided to launch your own brand of bags. What inspired the decision?
After my time at Michael Kors I felt ready to embark on the long process of building a modern luxury label.  My goal is not to be the next trend, it is to establish my roots in the luxury world, grow slowly, continue to gain industry trust and respect, while building on my Ellis legacy.
Photo: Courtesy Tyler Ellis
I chose to focus on luxury not only because of my love and admiration for artisanal works, but also because I found women globally carrying the same logo driven bags from large fashion houses. I decided early on that my silhouettes would not have logos anywhere on the exterior because I want the design, craftmanship and materials to speak for themselves. The strategic, yet subtle brand details I did create are all personally significant.  The interior of every bag is lined in my signature Thayer Blue, named after the Los Angeles street where I spent my early years and inspired by my long-time favorite color, Blue Violet. My symbolic Pinecone embodies the ancient symbol of the third eye, representing the highest form of spiritual awakening, perfection and much more. Pinecones adorn the zippers, feet and fasteners of many of my designs.  Most special to me is my Tyler Ellis logo which is in my father’s penmanship. His writing was taken from an envelope he addressed to me on my first birthday, making him a part of every piece I create.
Oprah Winfrey carrying the silver Lee clutch. Photo: Courtesy Tyler Ellis
Your handbags look at luxury via a different lens, focusing on timeless pieces over trends. Does this approach also extend into your personal life? How so?
100%. When I purchase an item, whether it’s jewelry, clothes, or home furnishings, I want it to be relevant for a lifetime.  I love well-made striking pieces that could be either new or old.  My wardrobe consists mostly of neutral colors, and classic, quality silhouettes that I can wear for years to come.  Our home is a collection of new, vintage, and custom pieces combined in an elegant way that sets a mood, making the home feel like it has been around for a long time, yet finished tactfully, and beautifully providing the luxurious vibe of a modern residence.
Naomi Biden carrying a custom Eloise clutch on her wedding day. Photo: Courtesy Tyler Ellis
Tell us about the first time your designs were worn by a celebrity. Who was it? What was that moment like?
Emily Blunt was the first celebrity to carry one of my bags. I was in Paris walking home from dinner, and I remember looking down at my phone and saw the image of Emily holding my clutch. It was a surreal moment. My heart started pounding, and I couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear. To this day, I am humbled every time I see my bags on the red carpet in the hands of talented, beautiful, and influential women. These are women who have access to anything and everything, and it makes me so proud that they choose to carry my designs.
This experience has also evolved for me. As much as I love seeing my bags on the red carpet, nothing makes me happier as a designer than seeing my bags worn in public.
Kerry Washington carrying a yellow Terry Ellis clutch at the SAG Awards. Photo: Courtesy Tyler Ellis
Your pieces have made it to countless red carpet events and have been spotted on several famous personalities. Who do you hope to see carrying your bags one day?
I would love for Kate Middleton to carry one of my pieces. She is timeless, elegant and an intelligent, worldly role model for young girls. She does not go for trends, her style is classic yet youthful, and my bags would complement her wardrobe beautifully. I envision my signature Lee Pouchet paired with her monochromatic moments, my LJ Handbag styled with her chic coat dresses, and my Perry Clutch as the finishing touch to her sparkling Jenny Packham gowns.
Heidi Klum carrying a chartreuse Lee clutch. Photo: Courtesy Tyler Ellis
How would you describe the Tyler Ellis woman?
Timeless, confident, sophisticated, understated, and worldly. My clients are women who have their branded high-end bags, but are looking for unique pieces with the same impeccable quality. These women have access to the créme de la crème, so I wanted to offer them something special that the larger fashion houses cannot, a full bespoke experience. I launched Bespoke by Tyler Ellis, a program that offers clients a personally tailored experience that connects them directly with a member of our dedicated concierge team to customize a one-of-a-kind handbag. This highly curated service allows you to hand select every decorative aspect of your bag including skin/material, hardware, embroidery, or engraving. Our devoted team will work with our exclusive network of top Italian and French tanneries to find the exact color or shade you’ve been dreaming of. Straps and chains will be cut to your precise measurements and your personalized handbag will be delivered to you within a matter of weeks.
One of the most rewarding complements I continue to receive from clients is that they get stopped more often carrying my handbags than any other brand they own.
Lastly, what’s next for you in terms of designing?
I’m finalizing the hardware for a new silhouette I designed with the red carpet in mind. We are planning to release it for awards season 2023. I’m also working on a capsule collection for one of the big hotels in the region. We are hoping to launch early next year.  Stay tuned!

Below, more pictures of celebrities with Tyler Ellis bags.
Nicola Peltz Beckham. Photo: Courtesy Tyler Ellis
Dr Jill Biden. Photo: Courtesy Tyler Ellis
Olivia Wilde. Photo: Courtesy Tyler Ellis
Paris Hilton. Photo: Courtesy Tyler Ellis
Photo: Courtesy Tyler Ellis

Designer Nancy Gonzalez Charged With Smuggling, Conspiracy by U.S. Dept. of Justice

Designer Nancy Gonzalez Charged With Smuggling, Conspiracy by U.S. Dept. of Justice

Accessories designer Nancy Gonzalez has been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of illegal smuggling and conspiracy. The designer is being extradited in a joint effort between U.S. and Colombian authorities and will be tried in the U.S.If convicted, Gonzalez faces a maximum total sentence of 25 years in prison and her business is subject to $1 million in fines.
The Colombian-based label known for its use of exotic skins has been a prominent name in the luxury accessories business since the early 2000s. It was even cited in “The Devil Wears Prada” as part of Anne Hathaway’s fashion makeover and was a key resource for the accessories departments of major global luxury stores.

Judging from court records filed in the Southern District of Florida, the Department of Justice began its investigation into Gonzalez’s operations in 2016. That year, the brand told WWD that it was selling some 79,000 bags a year.

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Exotic skin accessories are heavily regulated by the U.S. government and all trade must have documentation and comply with CITES rules [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora]. Gonzalez has told WWD in the past that she owns her own exotic animal farms where her skins are harvested and treated. The brand also has manufacturing facilities where its bags are sewn and produced for sale.
Court documents allege that the Gonzalez label paid people to fly from Colombia to the U.S. with its handbags in their luggage. When intercepted at Customs, the individuals carrying Gonzalez’s bags said they were gifts for friends in the U.S.

‪Inside the Nancy Gonzalez shop-in-shop at Harrods.‬

Tim Jenkins

As part of its investigation, the Department of Justice observed the transport of nearly 300 bags that it alleges were part of a larger trade conspiracy architected by Gonzalez and her company. Most of the bags in question appear to be made from caiman skin, a reptile that is smaller than a crocodile and is considered a more accessible price point in the accessories arena.
Representatives for Nancy Gonzalez could not be reached for comment. The label’s social media channels have been dormant since late April of this year, which is around the time that the Department of Justice’s investigation began to take shape.
A dramatic, music-scored video tweeted by Colombia’s attorney general earlier this month shows Gonzalez being escorted by authorities from a luxury enclave in Cali, Colombia. The attorney general’s office says this mission is the first of its kind in Latin America to deal with exotic skin accessories.
“The final destination of the products was luxury stores and well-known exhibitions such as New York Fashion Week,” the official account tweeted.

El requerimiento indica que elaboraban carteras, bolsos y diversos productos con pieles de babillas, caimanes, serpientes, entre otras. Contactaban a ciudadanos en Valle del Cauca y, al parecer, los convencían de viajar a Estados Unidos para que llevaran los artículos. pic.twitter.com/pOhK7zFrSB
— Fiscalía Colombia (@FiscaliaCol) July 8, 2022

In early 2021 Gonzalez told WWD that the U.S. remained her brand’s largest market and that she was looking to expand in the U.K., Middle East and South Korea, with plans to enter the Chinese market in 2022.
In the last decade the brand has oscillated between high and low points. As recently as 2016, the company launched a shoe line and maintained a dedicated space in Bergdorf Goodman’s handbag department, which Gonzalez once bragged to WWD was better than having her own store and was the reason she had yet to open a boutique in New York City.
A representative for Bergdorf Goodman declined to comment on the origin of the store’s Gonzalez bags and if the store has been contacted by authorities as part of a larger investigation.

The brand has innovated in the exotic skin space design-wise, weaving crocodile or python skin into bag chains or laser-cutting the skins to resemble flowers.
That fortune changed in 2017 when Santiago Barberi Gonzalez, the designer’s son who also served as her brand’s creative director and chief modernizer, suddenly died. The label gradually fell from wider favor, and made attempts to revive itself by launching calf leather bags to appeal to a broader audience. In recent months the Gonzalez brand was spotted with just a single small cabinet of clutches in Bergdorf’s. Its previous stand-alone space in the store had been taken over by edgier European brands.

CEO Talk: Iguatemi’s Cristina Betts Talks Business, Pandemic and New Role

CEO Talk: Iguatemi’s Cristina Betts Talks Business, Pandemic and New Role

As chief executive officer, Cristina Betts is the first female to head Iguatemi S.A., which specializes in mid-tier and luxury shopping centers in Brazil. The company has equity in 14 malls, two premium outlets, one power center and three commercial towers, and is listed on the São Paulo Stock Exchange.Having previously served as chief financial officer, Betts succeeds Carlos Jereissati, making her the first non-family member to run the company that dates back to 1966.
In a recent interview, Betts spoke about how Iguatemi has weathered the pandemic and is maintaining consumer connections. From her viewpoint, after a few years of a recession and two years of the pandemic, the company is seeing an “incredible bounce back” with some tenants posting double-digit and even triple-digit sales increases compared to 2019 and mall foot traffic is also up to pre-pandemic levels. After Brazil’s three-month lockdown in 2020 and one-month lockdown, people were eager to be together and “nobody could stand to be at home any more.”

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A recent poll of nearly 100 private economists by the Brazilian central bank reportedly indicated that the economy is expected to improve this year and also see a 1.51 percent GDP expansion this year. Inflation is expected to wrap up this year at nearly 8 percent and next year the forecast for inflation is 5 percent.
“I know the world is a little more complicated in terms of economics and so on, but May numbers [showed] a 36 percent increase in sales versus May 2019,” she said.
For the second quarter in a “preliminary, non-audited document that is subject to later review,” Iguatemi reported total sales for its portfolio increased 30.2 percent, reaching 4.3 billion reals, or $790.4 million. Eight malls grew more than 30 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2019. The company’s tenants are said to have seen same-store sales climb 31 percent compared to the same quarter in 2019. In terms of performance by segment, apparel, shoes, leather goods recorded a 51.2 percent gain versus the second quarter of 2019.

The exterior of Iguatemi Brasilia.

Photographer: Isaac Fausto

Iguatemi has unveiled Apartmento JK, a Marilla Pelegrini-designed space to welcome and entertain VIPs. The “Fashion Therapy Room” in Iguatemi 365 store in São Paulo has also bowed and is led by stylist Antenor Neto. The company continues to stage pop-up events in leading holiday destinations like Trancoso, Brazil.
While luxury brands and jewelers have performed well, especially at the start of the pandemic, supermarkets and sportswear brands have also gained ground with shoppers whose lifestyles have changed. Now everyone is doing well, especially Brazilian brands, apparel and restaurants, the CEO said.
Here, Betts talks about Iguatemi’s recent performance, the makeup of its malls, and being a female CEO of a major company.
WWD: What about concerns about a recession, shipping issues and the war in Ukraine? In the U.S. and in Europe, people are becoming much more tentative. Is that not happening there?
Cristina Betts.: Yes, it’s happening. Twenty to 30 percent of our portfolio is international brands, not only the luxury brands. But 70 percent of the brands are local and source locally. A lot of international brands also source locally. Part of the shipping problems involve shipping from Asia and Europe, but it still hasn’t affected our numbers. It’s not that we aren’t concerned. There are issues of course with receiving inventory and also not only a recession in Brazil but globally [as seen in] hikes in interest rates and inflation. I know the rest of the world is very concerned about inflation. We are also concerned but we have lived through worse.

WWD: What’s causing the shift in consumer behavior in Brazil?
C.B.: The pandemic accelerated the shift. We cater to a middle to high-end consumer. We have the flagship malls in São Paulo, Campinas…and various parts of the country. With this mid to high-end, the conversion is higher. During the pandemic, that was kind of natural because all of the [other] leisure options were restricted. [Not so for] being at the shopping mall and consuming, whether that be a product, service or going to a restaurant. From now on, I think a lot of consumers are going to buy a lot more locally than buying elsewhere. They’ve figured out it’s easier and basically the same price as buying stuff from the U.S., Europe and so on. We’ve also upgraded the restaurants, which cater to breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon snacks or a glass of Champagne at four o’clock in the afternoon.WWD: There’s been so much discussion about the death of malls. How do you see things changing with shopping malls?
C.B.: I’m biased [laughs]. The truth is it’s fantastic that you have convenience online, but people live offline, hopefully. My 11-year-old is on Roblox everyday meeting her friends after school. But she much prefers to be with them at school or at their houses playing together. Malls in Brazil have always had a very different configuration than other parts of the world. They are very much a place for meeting. People’s everyday lives revolve around the mall. They have lunch here everyday. They go to the movies here. They shop here for [everything from] the Gucci handbag to school shoes for their kids. It really is a one-stop shop for everything and is smack in the middle of the city normally.
WWD: Shoplifting and organized retail crime have become more of an issue in certain countries. Are you seeing that increase?
C.B.: One of the things we always think about in our malls is, “How do we boost security?” We have an intense security system, personnel people at the doors, cameras monitoring all of our corridors and main tenants. Over the decades, one of the things that has happened is that there aren’t a lot of fancy street retailers in Brazil because of security. Luxury tenants chose to migrate from street retail to the mall because it’s safer. It’s always been a concern for us. It hasn’t really changed. If there are going to be public movements going through the city, we are always very prepared for this sort of thing.

WWD: Have you changed any of the safeguards during the pandemic?
C.B.: No, we have different moments, where we boost security depending on what’s happening in the country or the city. We’re moving into an election year. Typically you have a lot of movements that go by our malls and we will have different types of procedures during them. But that’s a normal part of our routine already.
WWD: Are you changing the way you operate due to the recent shooting in a Copenhagen shopping center (which killed three people) and those types of incidents?
C.B.: Brazil has always had a different type of scenario than other parts of the world so we have always had a different kind of configuration for security. We always have to look at our country and see how we work within our country.
WWD: Where are the greatest opportunities?
C.B.: We were the first company to IPO in our segment in Brazil in 2007. From then up until 2015 or 2016, we grew a lot by building out new malls and expansions. In this next decade, our biggest opportunity is in M&A….When you think about how Uniball bought Westfield or Simon [Properties] is a big consolidator in the States, nobody’s played that role in Brazil yet. We only own about 64 or 65 percent of our own portfolio so there is a lot of minority interest that we can look to buy within our portfolio and then think about consolidating other assets. It’s not that we’re never going to build something new. I think it’s going to happen, but maybe not at the same speed that we used to do in the past.
WWD: Are there any areas that you are looking to invest in or take a stake in?
C.B.: We are a mall owner/operator. We own these assets that are the mid, high-end malls in each of their given locations. The idea is that we do more of the same at different locations. We look at increasing participation in our assets but not going too far from where we are.
WWD: How has the investment in Etiqueta Única played out?
C.B.: We have our own marketplace Iguatemi 365 that is a digital shopping mall. Etiqeta Única has two angles — one we are moving toward a more digital omnipresence. We want to leverage what we do well in the physical world and take that to the digital world, which is why 365 has the same kinds of curated products and brands that we have in our malls. Etiqueta Única has the same feel but also something that is very new to us — secondhand. It is the largest secondhand digital store in the country and they cater only to luxury brands — Gucci, Chanel — which fits very well with our positioning. We have a lot of consumers that we think will be suppliers to Etiqueta Única. We also have a very aspirational public here that wants or may be first-time consumers of all these brands. Some want to try them out. Etiqueta Única is solely digital now but we are thinking about how to integrate them into our physical world as well.

WWD: Will that mean brick-and-mortar stores?
C.B.: We don’t know yet but it does make sense to have your customer see the product.
WWD: How do you relay a sense of community when price points are inherently exclusionary for certain classes of people?
C.B.: Yes, we cater to mid- and high-end segments. Not everybody buys Gucci handbags everyday. You are right. We are a full-service mall. You can walk into our flagship mall in São Paulo and the first two stores are C&A and Lojas Americanas, which is where I go to buy candy and drawing paper for my daughters. Our malls have all types of services and stores that cater to all kinds of moments and different price points. But you also have the luxury.

The Brazilian company has equity holdings in 14 malls.

Photo by Marcelo Biscola/Courtesy

WWD: How does being a woman affect your role in the business world?
C.B.: It is something that I have been increasingly aware of especially now sitting as CEO of the company. I didn’t really think about it when I was a lot younger. For me, it was very important to make sure that I did what I had to do well and that I had my own voice. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve always had fantastic bosses that have given me space to work with. But I do realize there is a difference. Iguatemi has always been a heterogeneous environment where there has always been a lot of diversity. When I joined 14 years ago, half of our executive committee was women. Today it’s still half but if you look at the top management bracket from directors up, 46 percent of our executives are women. It’s already very gender-friendly and other different categories. People will think, “Ah, because you’re in the fashion world.” But I was the CFO of the company for several years. Maybe not the typical boy that you would imagine, right?…We want to make sure that our company has the same kind of availability and diversity that we have coming through the doors of our business everyday.
WWD: What might non-Brazilian people not know about how business is done in Brazil?
C.B.: Brazilians are very light in their approach to things. We are serious about what we do but everybody carries a good sense of humor. It’s true. We like having a light environment. We’re not very bureaucratic or heavy about processes. But it doesn’t mean that we’re not serious about what we do. We are very serious and very committed to the things that we do. It’s just that we do them hopefully having fun as well.

Pyer Moss Releases First Handbag and High-heel Designs

Pyer Moss Releases First Handbag and High-heel Designs

Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond has returned from a brief design hiatus and dropped his first full-fledged accessories line of handbags and shoes.The former Reebok global creative director is known for his sold-out sneaker designs for the athleticwear giant as well as his own brand, but Jean-Raymond has now made a larger departure into women-specific shoes that all come furnished with high heels.
A range of five handbag designs and four shoe styles became exclusively available on Pyer Moss’ website on Thursday afternoon. They represent what Jean-Raymond hopes is a new direction for the brand that focuses on imaginative, everyday styles.
The designer told WWD of the collection drop via email that, “accessories have always been a part of our collections and we do plan to grow the category moving forward. We are just putting out products to our customers as they are ready.”

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Pyer Moss’ inaugural handbag collection utilizes a hand-shaped motif, like a lady-like handle bag ensconced in a wraparound belt of two interlocking palm shapes, and a cheekier purse that looks like a two-dimensional facsimile of a rubber glove.
Jean-Raymond said that the larger inspiration was carried over from a collection that was never released. “The hand motif was something that we started to work on in early 2019 for what was the first version of collection four, then we brought it over to our couture collection (as seen in our ‘curtain rod’ and ‘mop’ look). [It’s] something that feels fun, familiar, and reminds [us] of togetherness,” he said.
There are simpler styles as well, like a slant-shape shoulder bag and an everyday bag with a detachable shoulder strap that’s offered in three sizes.
The bags, all produced in Italy, are priced from $495 to $1,800 and are largely available in both black or yellow leather. There’s an additional run of small leather goods priced from $200 to $500 that includes wallets, key chain fobs and card holders — many of them embroidered with the same hand motif.
Pyer Moss’ first heel design takes a naïve, organic shape that could become an identifiable brand signature. “As my team is growing, we are starting to serve the needs and wants of women that work here (as well as our customers) and it’s something that they are proud of,” Jean-Raymond said of the departure into heels.
The custom heel is offered in different proportions that suit each shoe design — taking a more stout outline on a lower elevation, 4.5-inch heeled sandal and appearing taller and spindly on a zip-up ankle boot with 5-inch heels. The latter style also comes in an over-the-knee version and there’s a lace-up stiletto to round out the collection as well.
All of the shoes — running from $850 to $1,400 — are offered in red, yellow and black — except for the over-the-knee boots, which are exclusively offered in black.
Jean-Raymond marked the occasion of his new collection launch by installing a Pyer Moss billboard in his childhood neighborhood of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. The image is part of a larger digital campaign with images shot by Shikeith and styled by rising talent and new Interview magazine fashion director Dara Allen.

For now, Jean-Raymond has decided to exclusively sell his accessories on Pyer Moss’ own website but has not ruled out wholesale in the future. “Direct-to-consumer allows us to control our narrative, our inventory and to produce what was necessary to sell. We have worked and will continue to work with retail partners in the future,” he said.

Wearable Objet d’Arts Inspired by Amazigh Heritage

Wearable Objet d’Arts Inspired by Amazigh Heritage

At the Lanserring Gallery in Manhattan’s SoHo, Katia Luna Benai reached into a tall wood and glass vitrine to show a polyhedral crocodile handbag with solid silver hardware, priced $30,000.For whomever might own it, “It represents your interest in art. Your interest in culture. Your interest in history,” Benai tells a guest at the gallery.
The bag, named “Nyx” after the Greek Goddess of Chaos, is handmade from 33 pieces requiring 38 hours to assemble, and is part of the debut “Artifacts” collection from the London-based Luna Benai firm, which designs limited-edition wearable objets d’art reflecting the culture of the ancient Amazigh race of Northern Africa.
Benai, the founder and creative director of Luna Benai, as a very young child was raised by her grandmother with the help of six aunts in a traditional Amazigh household in Algeria. She received old and new Amazigh teachings that define her character and design passion. She also traveled much through Africa and East Asia due to her father’s diplomatic profession, ultimately settling at her birth city of London.

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At Luna Benai, “The goal is to create unique timeless pieces that are a fusion of fine art, ancient history and contemporary craftsmanship for the luxury market.”

Luna Benai’s crocodile and solid silver $30,000 Nyx bag, inspired by the Amazigh culture.

For the launch in the U.S., Benai has brought two distinct exotic leather handbags that double as sculptures when presented in their accompanying sculptural cases. “My designs are inspired by the Amazigh heritage. I’m also very much into sculpture,” said Benai, a graduate of the Royal College of Arts in London who formerly worked for VIP services at Harrods.
“These are heritage pieces that embody history as well as a contemporary look for today. The Amazigh race dates back 4,000 years. There is a very, very long history, in terms of heritage, tradition, handmade crafts and shape, that gets passed on from generation to generation.”

Katia Luna Benai

The handbags will reside for six months at Lanserring, which is also London-based and known for designing high-end, bespoke kitchen furniture, dressing rooms and lifestyle products. They are also being shown at the Maison Gerard at the Winter Show being held inside the former Barneys New York flagship on 61st Street and Madison Avenue through April 10.
Benai will design a custom piece for Sotheby’s in the fall when the auction house launches a new category of artists’ jewelry, curated by Tiffany Dubin, called “Art as Jewelry…Jewelry as Art.”
Luna Benai’s wearable objets d’art are made to order and can be custom-made by the company’s team of designers and artisans.
Benai said the crocodile skin for the bags is ethically sourced from the same suppliers utilized by LVMH and Kering, and regulated by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which protects endangered plants and animals.
“If you are in the business of crocodile designs, you really need to educate yourself,” Benai said. “I’ve flown to see the crocodile farms and have spent a long time researching this to launch my company.” The solid silver adorning the handbags originates from Grant Macdonald, silversmith to the Royal Family of England.

“Luna Benai is wearable art, for people that fine art and want something different that inspires and imparts knowledge,” said Benai. “It’s not a practicality. It’s more of a statement. It’s definitely a niche clientele.”

Fall 2022 Accessories: Highlights From Paris Fashion Week Presentations

Fall 2022 Accessories: Highlights From Paris Fashion Week Presentations

PARIS — A spirited energy surrounded not only fashion show venues but also showrooms and presentations here, as accessories brands resumed their bustling in-person showcases.Collections reflected this return to social life in different ways, the flashier of which was a reprise in full force of fancy high heels and party-ready , rich in metallic, holographic and sparkly effects. Two certainties here: platforms are back and there’s no sneaker in sight for next season.
On the flip side of the coin, the resumption of daily routines also pushed brands in the opposite direction to include functional styles that could make life easier, especially when it came to handbags.
Meanwhile, changes over the last two years pushed both customers and companies toward a more conscious path in terms of valuing quality, timeless design and find additional purpose in products, as seen in jewelry lines that were charged with philanthropic or spiritual messages.

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Here, WWD rounds up some of the highlights seen in Paris during the past week:
Roger Vivier: Creative director Gherardo Felloni conceived another dreamy, Marie Antoinette-esque collection rich in candy-colored satin fabrics, crystals appliqués, embroideries and feathers. While the statement shoe of the season was the Choc Feathers Pump — featuring a swan-like silhouette, the brand’s signature Choc curved heel and feathers applied by hand — there were plenty of dazzling options such as satin pumps scattered with crystal embellishments, square-toed mules and sandals bejeweled with boxy ornaments on the heel and pointy sling-back shoes mixing PVC elements with feminine sparkly bows on the front. Even low-heeled styles were mood-boosting with their charming pastel hues or crystal buckles, while clutches spotlighted the brand’s all-around craftsmanship via embroideries and rhinestones galore.

Styles from the Roger Vivier fall 2022 collection.
Kevin Tachman/Courtesy of Roger Vivier

Christian Louboutin: For fall, Christian Louboutin partnered with Parisian artist Yaz Bukey to release an eclectic capsule collection titled “Loubi Mystery.” Winking to an Ottoman influence and exploring the theme of murder-mystery games, the range included bold styles, such as sandals with a metallic embroidery platform heel or covered in Arabic mosaic-like motifs, as well as velvet loafers replicating the pattern of Oriental carpets. Putting a strong focus on platforms, the range included sandals with translucent heels chiseled in botanical patterns and ankle boots covered in fun symbols and thought bubbles.

A style from the Christian Louboutin fall 2022 collection.
Courtesy of Christian Louboutin

By Far: Buzzy contemporary label By Far further upped the glamour ante for fall as founders Valentina Ignatova and Sabina Gyosheva released an extensive, cool collection focusing on liquified, metallics effect and glossy textures. The brand continued to build on the ’90s and Y2K references with baguette bags in extra-long shapes and high- and mid-heeled mules in punchy colors, ranging from neon green to bubblegum pink. The boots of the season, over-the-knee styles in sleek gold or silver hues, were made for walking, yes, but with extra self-confidence. The design is sure the gain the favor of fashion personalities fan of the brand, including Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber. To further intercept this audience, By Far will open its first flagship store in Los Angeles in May.

The By Far statement boots.
Courtesy of By Far

Alexandre Birman: “No more sneakers, women are back to the heels,” said Alexandre Birman, who during Paris Fashion Week displayed plenty of options to help his customers to mark this return. Phasing out exotic skins, the designer reworked leather in metallic and holographic effects in platform sandals — including a rendition of the brand’s signature Clarita style — and eye-catching designs with sculptural wedges. Elsewhere, he bejeweled stiletto heels with crystal rings or elevated velvet mules with dazzling buckles. “It’s all about cycles and this is a post-COVID-19 return to more eccentric styles. And I believe it is here to stay for a while,” the Brazilian designer said.

A style from the Alexandre Birman fall 2022 collection.
Marc Patrick/Courtesy of Alexandre Birman

Repossi: For the first time, Gaia Repossi explored color in her new Chromatic Sapphires collection. For the 15th anniversary as artistic director of the family business, Repossi partnered with Moyo Gems Organization, an association fighting for the working condition of women in the jewelry industry and especially in Tanzania’s Umba Valley, where the 31 sapphires included in the line were extracted. Coming in beautiful shades of tangerine, red, military green and blue-veering-to-gray hues, these sapphires offered a new take on the brand’s Serti sur Vide collection, which is defined by the floating effect of the gems’ setting. From rings to earrings, 15 unique limited-edition pieces highlighted the different colors and form of the sapphires, which were cut in rounded, oval, heart or pear shapes.

A design from Repossi’s Chromatic Sapphires collection.
Courtesy of Repossi

Eéra: Romy Blanga and Chiara Capitani continued to expand their brand’s range beyond its signature neon-hued earrings. For fall, they introduced pearls, keeping their fun approach to fine jewelry by including them in utilitarian designs. Cue to the new “Vita” necklace in which pearls surrounded a single gold snap hook — still the key element of the brand. “We liked the idea of having this kind of contrast between a classic gemstone, but used with a punk spirit, and the color of the snap hook,” Capitani said. A butterfly motif also debuted in the fall range, decorating necklaces and accenting stud earrings with its green, pink, purple and electric blue hues, as sported by Laetitia Casta’s daughter Sahteene Sednaoui in the brand’s advertising campaign.

A style from the Eéra fall 2022 collection.
Courtesy of Eéra

Medea: Italian label Medea continues to grasp buyers’ attention with its youthful and irreverent spirit injected in pop handbags. Launched in 2018 with the hit leather iteration of a paper bag, the brand evolved via sleek geometric styles that for fall were joined by new, softer shapes and materials. For one, founders Camilla and Giulia Venturini introduced satin in the Bucket style — offered in lovely combinations of yellow with green and fuchsia with red — and in the Charlie shoulder bag, which featured contrasting eco-leather lining and strategic side pockets to immediately find your iPhone or home keys. The duo also developed the jumbo Crush tote bag made of recycled toilet paper and cigarette packets, and reinterpreted bestsellers Classics and Cydonia in vegan apple skin leather. In sync with their playful attitude, the Venturinis released Medealand, a 40-page print publication developed with Maurizio Cattelan’s art magazine Toiletpaper that doubles as surrealist and fun look book.

Medea’s Bucket style as seen in Medealand.
Courtesy of Medea

Charles Jourdan: One of the biggest news items of the season was historic French footwear label Charles Jourdan’s comeback under the new artistic direction of fashion designer Christelle Kocher. The new course of the brand initiated with wearable and colorful designs with an architectural touch. Kocher revamped a graphic logo from the ‘70s that appeared as a buckle, elevating essential flats and sandals, as well as conceived sculptural, metallic heels that echoed the work of minimalist artist Donald Judd and architect Eileen Gray. Eye-catching options included a pointy style crafted from orange bouclé wool, a flat sling-back in multicolored jacquard and multistrip heeled sandals, which are all set to attract a new generation of consumers to the 101-year-old brand.

A style by Charles Jourdan’s fall 2022 collection.
Courtesy of Charles Jourdan

Nodaleto: “Since the beginning, we focused on smart styles, but you can be both smart and sexy,” said Julia Toledano, who added some metallic and sparkly effects to her signature square-toe, block-heeled designs that took Instagram by storm since the brand launched in 2019. While its popular mary janes were rendered in holographic textures, flashy fuchsia or forest green satin sling-back styles offered another appealing take on the brand’s aesthetics, which was further enhanced by loafers and laced boots punctuated with colored rhinestones. But Toledano also included more quotidian options via suede designs with contrasting soles. “There are different characters and aesthetics in my head. I can be this girl and this one,” she said showing a glittery shoe in one hand and a suede ankle boot in the other.

A style from the Nodaleto fall 2022 collection.
Courtesy of Nodaleto

Delvaux: In its elegant presentation staged in a “Hotel Particulier” decorated with statement furnishing by interior designer Maria Pergay, Belgian luxury handbag label Delvaux spotlighted its craftsmanship via a fall collection offering both sparkly options and everyday styles. Bedazzling embellishments revamped the brand’s iconic Brilliant bag, which this season was rendered in a mini size covered in multicolored or black crystals. Even without all the glitz, the Pin bucket bag, first created in 1972, shone with its new perforated structure and chic neutral leather tones, while a Pin Swing variant introduced for fall charmed with its bright shades of pink, yellow and baby blue. Also new, the Lingot leather style inspired by the brand’s ‘70s archives made for a functional, compact bag oozing urban sophistication with its essential lines and oversize “D” buckle made out of a single brass bar.

The Pin bucket bag by Delvaux.
Courtesy of Delvaux

Pierre Hardy: Graphic platforms stood out at Pierre Hardy, where chunky loafers and ankle boots represented a gender-inclusive offering via sizes ranging from 36 to 47. The fall collection also included the ‘90s-inspired, retro-futuristic Blade boots in off-white leather and graphic, minimal heels as well as strappy sandals in metallic hues. Preppy loafers, appropriately dubbed Eton, played with the contrasting colors the footwear maverick is best known for, while the designer continued to prove his sustainability commitment adding new styles developed with deadstock fabrics, such as open-toe pumps covered in leopard print.

The Janis boots by Pierre Hardy.
Courtesy of Pierre Hardy

Gia Borghini x Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s polished taste and minimalist flair has worked wonders for Florentine footwear label Gia Borghini, which is at its fourth collaboration with the model and actress. Drawing from Borghini’s and Huntington-Whiteley’s mutual penchant for architecture and interior design, the collection included platform boots and sandals nodding to wooden elements as well as more feminine boots and sling-back options with curved heels, all charming in their sophisticated palette of chocolate, olive green, white and purple shades.

A style from the fourth Gia Borghini x Rosie Huntington-Whiteley collection.
Courtesy of Gia Borghini

Gia Borghini: Looking for unfussy, practical styles to face the wintery season, Gia Borghini and the brand’s creative consultant, Danish influencer Pernille Teisbaek, developed a cool collection of functional boots fitted both for mountain peaks in St. Moritz and the streets of London or New York. Focusing on a palette of butter, beige, forest green and sky blue tones, the leather styles came with chunky smooth or lug soles. A range of sporty sunglasses developed with niche eyewear specialist Ophy was added to complete the look.

A style from the Gia Borghini fall 2022 collection.
Courtesy of Gia Borghini

Wandler: Amsterdam-based Wandler keeps drawing attention for its modernist aesthetic channeled via sleek, minimal bags and squared-toe shoes, that keep fueling the sales of the brand distributed in more than 200 wholesale doors. For fall, Elza Wandler released a mini size of the bestselling cross-body bag Penelope, as well as introduced the Uma baguette style and Joanna bag, both imbued with a laid-back attitude. The shoe collection surprised with new Swarovski-encrusted sandals, while the founder further expanded her lexicon with a concise capsule collection of leather apparel separates, including a must-have pant in burgundy shade.

A style from the Wandler fall 2022 collection.
Courtesy of Wandler

Kassl Editions: Kassl may have started developing handbags as a creative way to repurpose fabric leftovers from its signature fisherman’s coats, but there’s no doubt that this side project has grown to be as compelling as the brand’s main apparel line. The functional range of coated cotton tote bags — including the puffy Pillow designs — and hobo styles now also comprises more compact options in stiffer leather but still oozing the same cool vibe that put the Amsterdam-based label on the fashion map in the first place.

A style from Kassl Editions.
Courtesy of Kassl Editions

Vanina: “Après la pluie, le beau temps,” or “after the storm, the sun rises again,” in English, was the motto of the Vanina collection. The Lebanese company has kept going despite instability in the country, continuing to partner with local artisans to develop its handmade pieces and mood-boosting collections. For fall, structured bags in geometrical shapes were covered in rainbow-colored pearls or rhinestones, while softer options further revealed the artisanal approach of the brand as they were crafted with a beading technique, often reporting fun phrases emphasizing Vanina’s playful spirit. The same embellishments were introduced in a footwear range, that added to the recently launched clothing line and marked another step in the expansion of the company established by Tatiana Fayad and Joanne Hayek in 2007.

A Vanina style for fall 2022.
Courtesy of Vanina

L’Atelier Nawbar: Another Lebanese sensation, fine-jewelry brand L’Atelier Nawbar, keeps drawing an international audience to its colorful creations with a talismanic quality. The brand, which boasts a heritage dating back to 1891 and has been revamped to charm modern customers by the fourth generation of Nawbars, uses gemstones such as malachite, mother-of-pearl, tourmaline, lapis and agate, each linking to healing properties and positive energy. In addition to bestsellers nodding to astrology, the four elements or lucky symbols, the company has released the Lock’in line of geometric pendants and rings, each intended to bring a customer’s wish into the universe. Coming in Art Deco-reminiscent motifs, including stripes or zigzag patterns, all pieces were marked on the back by words including love, joy and strength.

The Lock’in line by L’Atelier Nawbar.
Courtesy of L’Atelier Nawbar

Celine Daoust: In a similar approach, Celine Daoust showed a spiritual jewelry collection in its Parisian boutique. The brand has released a line dubbed “Dream Maker” that included single hoop earrings, bracelets and pendants with open-eye or moon motifs, all crafted in 14-karat light yellow gold and embellished with marquise-cut diamonds and dangling details.

Styles from the Dream Maker line by Celine Daoust.
Courtesy of Celine Daoust

Pupchen: During the first lockdown in 2020, Tunisian architect Duha Bukadi had plenty of time to design. In addition to buildings, she started to explore the world of footwear, with a goal of combining structure and comfort. Pupchen, her shoe line debuting at Paris Fashion Week that was marked by playful and eccentric high-heeled styles, included over-the-knee boots with whimsical drawings of frogs, planets and flowers, as well as metallic mules and pumps with wavy plexiglass or lollipop-inspired structures as heels. “The goal is for our woman to be noticed and for us to create shoes that can spark a conversation,” Bukadi said. Working with different suppliers, including Massaro — part of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art at Le 19M — Italian manufacturer Ballin and Atelier Lebuisson for embroideries, Bukadi developed her fantasy line while also taking into consideration sustainable aspects. “Initially, I wanted to do a vegan brand, but it didn’t work out because the quality of the products was not as we wanted to be,” she said, switching to a step-by-step approach via the inclusion of chrome-free tanned leather or using waste material from factories in her creations, among others.

A style by Pupchen.
Courtesy of Pupchen

J.M. Weston: Even heritage footwear brand J.M. Weston stepped into high heel territory for the first time by offering a feminine take on its signature Cambre ankle boot, an equestrian style first created in 1969 that features an upper cut from a single piece of leather. The women’s version of this timeless design was celebrated with the poetic performance “Portrait en Pied,” conceived by the brand’s artistic, image and culture director Olivier Saillard in collaboration with actress Sonia Ichti and staged at the French shoemaker’s Marais flagship. Ichti narrated the story of her life through brief poems, each cited after wearing a different pair of shoes, including interpretations of both the flat and high-heeled Cambre boot, which was also rendered artistically when covered in colored leather fringes, canvas, handkerchief or extra-long trains of fabric for a dramatic effect.

A style by J.M. Weston.
Courtesy of J.M. Weston

Joseph Duclos: Enduring elegance was at the center of the Maison Joseph Duclos project. The company was established last year to celebrate the legacy of entrepreneur Joseph Duclos, who in the 18th century combined three small tanneries in Lectoure, France, and earned the title of Royal Leather Manufacture by King Louis XV in 1754. Now, under the artistic direction of Ramesh Nair — who made a name for himself at his previous experiences at Hermès and Moynat — this gem of French craftsmanship launched with a series of luxury leather accessories, including the Diane design offered both in the handbag and cross-body options. Inspired by coin purses and crafted from calfskin treated with a natural tanning technique that develops a patina over time, the essential shape was outlined with gold-plated brass engraved with sentences of the founder’s letters and featured a statement clasp evoking the arrow of the Diana goddess of the hunt. The Saint-Clair style also charmed with its contemporary take on pouches worn by royal officers and combinations of leather structure and soft, nubuck flap.

The Diane bag by Joseph Duclos.
Courtesy of Joseph Duclos

Goossens: Blending art and goldsmith craft, Goossens made a name for itself collaborating with Chanel and making jewelry for designers such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy and Christian Lacroix. While continuing to work for numerous fashion houses today, the brand expanded its jewelry assortment under its own line with a charming fall collection nodding to antique pieces, including hammered bangles and rings, pearl-encrusted brooches and dangle earrings, all evoking byzantine ornaments. Styles are crafted in brass soaked in gold bath and often embellished with cabochon-cut stones.

Earrings by Goossens.
Courtesy of Goossens

Alia Bin Omair: Emirati award-winning brand Alia Bin Omair, which also scooped the 2021 Fashion Trust Arabia prize for the jewelry category, blending art and design to create statement pieces with an artisanal touch. Highlights of the collection included the Leaf line defined by a raw look and irregular shapes nodding to natural elements. The range comprised 18-karat gold adjustable rings, one-piece earrings and chokers with delicate leaf details punctuating a thin gold wire.

A ring by Alia Bin Omair.
Courtesy of Alia Bin Omair

Elleme: Under the creative direction of founder Jingjing Fan, Paris-based brand Elleme has quickly grown from accessories to ready-to-wear, which was at its third iteration this season. While the label has ambitious plan to further beef up the apparel category, its core footwear and handbags offering continues to attract retailers, which include Harvey Nichols, Browns, Rinascente and Mytheresa, among others. New footwear styles included a tougher take on the mary jane shoe with a squared toe, block heel and rubber sole as well as loafers and high boots adorned by the brand’s signature Couchou ruched band. Handbags ranged from the cross-body, half-moon shaped Dimple bag and the Space bag boasting a futuristic, curved shape to the Panda bag with frontal zippered pockets, that was rendered in different textures, such as shearling, canvas and leather.

The Dimple bag by Elleme.
Courtesy of Elleme

Tweek: Think zero-waste in jewelry is melting metal once more to reuse it? Think again. For jewelry brand Tweek, it’s about using a sheet of metal so completely there’s nothing left, from the metal laticework that is created by punching out another shape to compressing any leftovers for new shapes. Behind the industrial charm of this Dutch label, the contraction of “twin sisters Eek,” are twin cofounders Roos and Geertje Eek. The former has experience in metalwork while the latter worked in product design, combining their knowledge to harness heavy-duty machinery in order to produce eye-catching geometric designs.

A style by Tweek.
Maria.bodil/Courtesy of Tweek

Sweetlimejuice: Hong Kong designer Simpson Ma took home the Swarovski Innovator Award for his unique stone swaddling method the same year he graduated from London College of Fashion. Now behind London-based Sweetlimejuice, the latest collection is infused with cultural contradictions. He borrows from Japanese, Hindu, Islamic and Christian religious imagery, such as a crucifix cleaved in two on the sides of a chunky chain. “These things remind people about connection, closeness and beliefs.” Elsewhere sculptural notes appear in scalloped curved-link chains in gold-plated sterling silver. The brand used black freshwater pearls on bracelets and necklaces, and his signature wrapping technique is applied with fabric cradling chunky semiprecious stones in yellow and a royal purple.

Styles from Sweetlimejuice.
Courtesy of Sweetlimejuice

L/Uniform: Jeanne Signoles continued her exploration of all-things canvas at her L/Uniform brand, which epitomizes effortless French style in pragmatic, everyday accessories. While Signoles’ colorful take on the fabric continues to attract customers via trend-free styles, the founder introduced the Quadrille blend of natural beige cotton with navy linen thread in a new array of models, encompassing satchels, tool and tote bags and pouches in different sizes. She also launched the new Gibecière saddle bag, a compact cross-body design with leather details, that she defined an all-purpose bag. “The initial idea of the brand was to do a bag not just for a Saturday night but for every day. I spend most of my time outside from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., so I need to be well equipped for that,” Signoles said. The company has a store in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and soon will triple its ground floor at Le Bon Marché, where it is showcased at both the fashion accessories and home divisions, since its vast assortment is also extended to cooler bags, kitchen aprons and guitar cases, among others.

A style in Quadrille canvas by L/Uniform.
Courtesy of L/Uniform

Malone Souliers: Opting out of Paris Fashion Week this season, London-based Malone Souliers presented its fall 2022 collection remotely. “I wanted to embrace the unconscious, taking inspiration from the freewheeling visions and impeccable style of the surrealist art movement,” said founder Mary Alice Malone about her new designs that played with different materials and shapes, ranging from high-heeled boots with drawstrings creating ruched effects on the leg to party-ready satin mules with feathers.

A style from Malone Souliers fall 2022 collection.
Courtesy of Malone Souliers

Franzi Relaunched With Margherita Bag

Franzi Relaunched With Margherita Bag

MILAN — Entrepreneur Marco Calzoni is banking on “the queen of handbags.”In relaunching the Franzi label, 150 years after its foundation, Calzoni has singled out the Margherita bag, which will hit stores in time for Christmas. The bag is named after the first Queen of Italy and member of the Savoia family, “a very sophisticated, multifaceted and modern woman, interested in social and political issues,” said Calzoni.
Meeting WWD in the stately, storied and frescoed palazzo in central Milan that belongs to his family and that serves as a showroom for Franzi, Calzoni explained that his dream was to launch an entrepreneurial project, after his longstanding experiences in marketing and product development at L’Oréal and Puig.

“I was missing dealing with the product,” he said simply.

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With his partner Stefan Oelze, Calzoni has taken control of the brand that was being liquidated, and unveiled the Margherita bag last September during Milan Fashion Week.
His passion for the Franzi company is deep-rooted. “It’s part of my memories of when I was a child, and I’ve fallen in love with the brand. I realized it’s the most beautiful Italian story, which has helped create the luxury system here,” said Calzoni.
The leather goods tradition is usually associated with Florence, for its durability and sturdiness, he said, but Franzi, created in 1864, was instrumental in establishing a solid leather goods pole in Milan at the time, preceding Fontana, which dates back to 1915, and Valextra, founded in 1937. Prada was founded in 1913 and Gucci in 1921, both in Tuscany.
Actually, the first seeds of the company date back to 1840, when patriarch and artisan Rocco Franzi set up his carpentry laboratory in Milan and realized that wooden trunks could be much lighter if he covered the structure with fabrics, leather or parchment. He thus created “Il Leggerissimo [the very light]” trunk, which helped cement the brand, and then he expanded the production with a range of  suitcases and other leather goods.
His son Felice was more of a businessman, related Calzoni, and he established the company and a small manufacturing plant in 1864, creating professional roles, hiring a number of French artisans to add a more polished touch to the collections, and importing chemical tanning techniques from Germany.
In order to be less polluting, Oreste, a member of the third generation, in the early 1900s traveled to China to learn how to use vegetable tanning techniques, and to Latin America to source the Quebracho, a tree growing in Argentina, from whose bark is extracted a typically red-colored powder, containing a precious tannin. He thus founded in 1912 one of the first European manufacturing plants that used vegetable tanning, the Conceria Monzese, and then set up an international retail network with stores in Vienna and London, as Franzi became the official supplier to the Italian, Austrian, Greek and Egyptian royal families.
“When Guccio Gucci opened his first shop, his tags stated that he had worked at Franzi, as a guarantee of his expertise,” said Calzoni, proudly showing a photo of an iPhone cover recently designed by Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele that reproduced said tag.

The Guccio Gucci affiche, stating the working experience at Franzi.
courtesy image

Calzoni also flipped through original catalogues that showed an impressive selection of Franzi items created over the years, from barber sets to containers for perfumes. The ABS briefcase in resin stood on a nearby table, similar to the one designed by Cini Boeri in resin and leather, which is part of the permanent collection at the Triennale Museum in Milan and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Calzoni has been organizing an archive, buying vintage pieces from flea markets or online.
The plant closed in 1998, following years of decline, when the Franzi family refused to embrace fashion trends, Calzoni explained. “The brand lost its edge, it had become too classic at a time when fashion became more important than luxury,” he observed.
In revamping the brand, Calzoni decided to focus on a single handbag design from 1940 in the trademarked Cuoio Franzi and turned to leading leather goods producer Renato Corti as a manufacturing partner.
The Margherita is initially offered in two sizes, small and medium, and in four leathers — the trademarked Cuoio Franzi; calfskin; lambskin and goatskin, and in 15 colors, lined in Limonta linen and cotton, also embellished with a pattern from the ‘40s.
“The structure of the bag is very complex, it is made with 178 pieces assembled in 12 hours,” said Calzoni, noting that the same artisan must be in charge of one bag and each step from beginning to end. The bar with rivets, covered in metal or leather, stands out as a distinctive element. The bag has two faces and three different openings. On each side of the bag there is a semi-flat pocket.
Retail prices range from 3,600 to 4,900 euros.
Calzoni was confident in the potential of the season-less bag. “There is always a request for a brand that has a story to tell on top of a high-quality product,” he contended. “The bag embodies traditional values of luxury, it’s an investment that lasts in time, which is truly sustainable, negating waste and overconsumption.”

Franzi’s Margherita bags
courtesy image

Accessories Brand Rosantica Makes Retail Debut in Milan

Accessories Brand Rosantica Makes Retail Debut in Milan

JEWEL STORE: Backed by the Made in Italy fund-powered Fine Sun investment firm, luxury handbag and accessories brand Rosantica has made its retail debut in Milan’s Golden Triangle luxury shopping district.The brand opened a flagship on Via della Spiga, inside a space formerly occupied by Dondup, revamping the store as a Wunderkammer, “blending the traditional codes of luxury with high-tech,” said founder and designer Michela Panero.
The 376-square-foot space boasts floor-to-ceiling recesses embellished with boiserie decorations and housing the brand’s minaudieres, clutches and satchels covered in crystals and rhinestones or trimmed in feathers. Half of the 64 recesses can move and rotate to reveal additional handbags, via tech-enabled automation.

A black and white chessboard-patterned flooring contrasts with the ivory white boiserie and bubblegum pink recesses, the latter spotlighted by changing lighting at the store. The renovation works were spearheaded by architects Gino D’Andrea and Francesca de Cherubini.

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“I’m always very prudent and anxious, but the fund has helped me look forward,” said Panero praising the financial muscles and entrepreneurial spirit of the fund.
Founded by Panero in 2010, Rosantica sold a 60 percent interest to the Made in Italy Fund, the private equity fund managed by Quadrivio and Pambianco, in 2020. Following other acquisitions in the fashion sector — including 120% Lino, Dondup and footwear brands Ghoud and Autry — the fund established a new entity called Fine Sun to manage its fashion portfolio. The Made in Italy fund also acquired a majority interest in GCDS, which is managed independently.
Former Gucci and Golden Goose chairman Patrizio di Marco has also become an investor in the Made in Italy Fund and was named president of Ghoud and Autry.
According to Mauro Grange, partner of the Made in Italy Fund and chief executive officer of Fine Sun, the fund is looking to grow the brand’s footprint also abroad, with plans to add flagships in Paris, London, Hong Kong and New York in the mid-term future.
“I believe consumers are craving newness and this particular context offers opportunities,” said Grange commenting on the decision to debut in retail amid the pandemic.
Despite the havoc wrought by the health emergency, the executive noted that the brand’s revenues jumped 30 percent year-on-year, fueled by investments on growing Rosantica’s digital prowess, via social media and a newly launched e-commerce platform.
Treasure chest-like clutches, as well as the new Trullo Bag collection developed in tandem with fashion editor and social media icon Anna Dello Russo, drew the interest of marquee retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman and Saks 5th Avenue, the executive noted.

Hollywood Stylist Mimi Cuttrell Designs Capsule for By Far

Hollywood Stylist Mimi Cuttrell Designs Capsule for By Far

Accessories brand By Far has been circulating on the arms and feet of young starlets since its launch in 2016. So it makes sense that the brand has now collaborated with the stylist responsible for the wardrobes of Gigi Hadid, Ariana Grande, Normani, Iris Law and others.Mimi Cuttrell, stylist to a slew of young celebrities, has teamed with the Bulgarian brand on a range of bags and shoes. The line will exclusively hit Net-a-porter on Dec. 15 and will be priced from $415 to $665. Select styles will also be available on By Far’s website.
Cuttrell started out as the stylist to both Hadid sisters and in the past four years has had a significant impact on the way young women want to dress. Recently Cuttrell has been getting attention for her work on Grande’s looks as a judge on “The Voice,” namely a viral outfit last month involving the same Versus Versace dress worn by Jennifer Garner in the early Aughts rom-com, “13 Going On 30.” Cuttrell has also been a longtime proponent of By Far, and in many ways is responsible for putting the brand on the viral map.

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“I have always loved By Far as a brand, we’ve collaborated on countless occasions with my clients. By Far pieces are the perfect modern staple, and it was a privilege to work with them on this design collaboration,” Cuttrell said. “Growing up, my mother always wore elegant vintage pieces. I inherited that love for timeless clothing from her and I drew inspiration from that. I love its classic versatility. I wanted this collection to be comfortable, wearable and chic.”

Mimi Cuttrell for By Far.
Courtesy/By Far

The collection includes nine new designs — two shoe styles and seven bags — that are an ode to modern red carpet dressing, striking a balance between what’s casual and glitzy. Smooth Italian leather in tangerine, black and lime green color ways is applied to sling back heels and metal top-handle clutches.
“We love being motivated by another kind of energy, and with Mimi it felt so natural as we all share the same values and aesthetics — a joint passion for craftsmanship and a strong sense of what women crave. Our approach to design and quality merges with Mimi’s unparalleled perspective on identifying trends and promoting confidence,” said By Far cofounder Valentina Ignatova.
This is the first product collaboration for By Far, which is currently sold by 300 retailers worldwide.
“Partnerships make sense when both parties merge their brand identifies uplifting each other. We believe artistic and design creativity should come naturally as a part of an extension of an organic relationship. We will continue fostering partnerships that feel inspiring and natural,” said Ignatova.

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